Round 15 – Carlton v Collingwood: The Battle of July 2 and now the Blues need a swing of 6%





by Rocky Dabscheck



This recent chapter in the clash of our nation’s most bitter rivals was 8 weeks in the making.

May 7, Carlton looked smart. Collingwood smarted. Bad enough now that wet nosed upstarts from Western Sydney have more clout than the powerhouse Pies, but those Blueboys edged slightly further ahead in the win/loss count.

Carlton 126; Collingwood 122; 4 draws.


Fast forward 8 weeks (if only,) from the sublime ignominy of that defeat, and here they are, hard at it, trying to make their faithful followers believe life can again be good.


I was not at The G on July 2. I didn’t see a kick, a mark, or a fumble. From the score-line I get the feeling there was no shortage of the latter. My smart phone linked me to the ebbing and flowing, and not so flowing, at The G.


My attention is on a separate battle being beamed into a roomful of Feeney faithfuls at the Thornbury Theatre.


Labor vsLiberal. Feeney v Bhathal being the one on one contest putting bums on seats. A cheer every time Feeney is declared ahead; silence when Bhathal looks to be in pole position to collect the goonka.


The similarities between these two battles, the one at The G, and the one everywhere else, makes me yearn for the days of Gabelich, Tuddenham, McKenna, Whitlam and Cairns. Back then we had choice, and your choice helped define you. It carried a definite gravitas. Now we have the luxury of choosing between the Tweedles, Dum and Dee.


The days of Labor/Collingwood, fingers to the establishment, more power and services to the people,  against the ‘Born to Rule’ Bluebloods of the Carlton/Liberal nexus are gone for good.


Collingwood. Carlton. Liberal. Labor. Now, just brand names for corporations. Talk about interchange issues on the field. Pales when compared to how interchangeable these corporations have become.


Carltonwood. Laberal. Money the common god. Anything and everything for money. We are surely only time away from players, not already inked to their eyeballs, being commissioned, by their clubs, to tattoo team sponsors on their exposed flesh.


Regardless of who won on July 2, neither Collingwood nor Carlton will be there when it matters. Just as well, when you factor in the paucity of tickets available for club members if their team makes it all the way to the Grand Final. The AFL has to look after its corporate sponsors after all. Without them we wouldn’t have corporate sponsors, but somehow I think we would still have the game.


As for the game. All processes and structures. Take no risks. Don’t kick to a contest. Forget flair. Follow instructions from above. Stay on message. Same rules apply in the other battle.


Whether it’s Labor or Liberal, we’ll still have a military presence in the Middle East. We’ll still suck up to ‘Standard and Poor’s,’ despite their poor standards, (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac kept their triple A rating right through to the crash.) We’ll still hear about the evils of a budget deficit. We’ll still get our foreign policy straight from The White House.  There will still be refugees wasting away in our state-sponsored hellholes. Catch my drift.


There were, however, some pleasing signs on this early July Saturday night, suggesting better days may find their way to us.


At Melbourne’s spiritual home, the main point of interest being the debut of Silvagni, Mark III. Sergio, Stephen, and now Jack. Jack. A name common in the early days of last century, experiencing a renaissance late in that century right through till now. Mind you, with a name like Jack, the young Silvagni could well end up at St.Kilda where the collective noun for Jack apparently is “ a team of Jacks.”


The black and whites had Darcy, son of Peter, and Travis, son of David, who was trying to hang on to his marks as well as his place in the ones.


These three names link us to less cluttered days, and less congested packs, when things were not as complicated. A job for life, and one club players. At least the Silvagnis fit that theory. Forget the fact David Cloke started at Richmond yet just missed out on being a Collingwood Brownlow medalist. Peter Moore went one better; winning a Brownlow as a Pie, but he did collect another as a Demon.


Bill Shorten also went back to the future. None of this be a small target, don’t say anything, don’t take a risk. Our boy Bill went straight to the Labor heart. Protect Medicare, spend big on education, have larger deficits……. For a while at least. But there was the promise of balancing the budget by 2020. As if he knows whether he’ll even be the leader in 2020, let alone what will be happening around the world. Collingwood’s plan was/is to play off for a flag by 2018. So much for forward projections.


Despite my skepticism, and healthy sense of detachment, I admit to being moved, and thrilled, by the evening’s events.


For the record, Collingwood won. Now the ledger with The Blue boys stands at 253 played. Carlton 126. Collingwood 123, and 4 draws. Give those 4 in doubt to Collingwood and they have a majority of one. Neither club holds a majority in its own right.


In the political conflict neither party could claim a majority by the end of the night. It felt like another 8 weeks had passed before the incumbent finally addressed the nation. Turnbull hectored like a grumpy coach, blaming the umpires and deflecting all fault away from himself.


Shorten spoke with a sense of joy. I was waiting for him to declare “I love politics. I love politics” in the manner the current Carlton coach loves footy. I believed Billy Boy had learnt something from studying up on Whitlam, and observing Hawke and Keating.


For me it was a good night. How could it not be, with Collingwood taking care of the Blueboys, (that ball was out Wayne Harmes) and Labor stuffing up the blue blood Tories for years to come. Pity their coach Turnbull. I doubt he has the full support of his players, and I don’t think Lucy will be happy. I can hear her now: “Malcolm. What have you done, you idiot! We’re worth quarter of a billion dollars. Our house is a palace. Now look at us. Living in that Lodge shitbox, and we’ve got to invite the Bernardis and Abetzes over for dinner. You’re an idiot Malcolm. An idiot!”


Feeney completed the trifecta by hanging on and looks set for the three votes


Please don’t tell anyone I felt a tad emotional when Bill, of Bill’s Bus, spoke. I became a true believer again, and it was good. If only he’d thrown in a “Men and women of Australia” it would have been complete.


As for the others in the room, nary a one of them checked their phone for progress scores at the G. I had that all to myself.


As for the game, the score line, a combined total of barely 100 points, reflects the soccer mantra, possession is 9/10ths of a goal, but rarely actually results in one. I think most of us will settle for more goals and less possessions.


The Blues will need a swing of roughly 6% to topple the Pies at their next encounter. There will be recriminations and a few heads will roll before the next meeting with their hated foe.


Go Pies.

Go Labor.

Stay Feeney


  1. Bill and Feeney are real Collingwood men. Not like Keating.


PPS. Western Sydney was truly great as well on this first Saturday in July.












  1. Keating is far more Labor than Bill and Feeney could ever hope to be.
    I was intrigued that both Bill and Malcolm claimed victories of sorts when the primary vote of both major parties was smashed. Idiots the both of them.

  2. Very enjoyable read Rocky.

    I was working a polling station in Batman and it was very close. Bhathal’s enormous marketing campaign nearly paid off. Feeney didn’t exactly cover himself in glory either. The Greens will be an even bigger threat next time as the hipsters continue moving north of Bell Street.

    The game scores went hand in hand with the major parties’. Poor Mal might have won by a couple goals by the looks but has inherited a poisoned chalice. A bit like Bucks.

  3. Adelaide Dupont says

    They had Katter over for tea and it was much more fun.

  4. Rocky Dabscheck says

    I meant to write “Shorten and Feeney are real Collingwood men, unlike Keating.” You’d have to be off your rocker to think Keating wasn’t a real Labor man. I’m a tad out there, but I am not that much off my rocker to think Paul Keating was anything other than Labor through and through.
    If only I’d proofed it one more time !!!!!!
    I was at Victoria Park one time, and probably the only time Keating was there. The poor chap didn’t look like he knew which end of the ball to hold.

    Ed’s note: That’s now been sorted Rocky.

Leave a Comment